Political Ash Wednesday: Tumults in Biberach “go too far”

Press review
Tumults at the Green Party’s Political Ash Wednesday: “This is going too far”

For the Greens’ political Ash Wednesday, numerous people gathered in front of the town hall in Biberach an der Riß to demonstrate

© Silas Stein / DPA

Political Ash Wednesday was full of excitement with pithy sayings and a joint on stage. However, the Green Party’s event in Biberach caused a stir: it didn’t take place because of protests. This is how the press judged the day.

Top politicians from almost all parties used Political Ash Wednesday to make strong statements and attacks on their respective political opponents. CSU boss In Passau, Markus Söder attacked the traffic light government, especially the Greens, and again called for new federal elections. SPD leader Lars Klingbeil, among others, attacked Söder head-on. The speakers at almost all rallies sharply differentiated themselves from the AfD.

Things were less sociable in Biberach in Baden-Württemberg. The Greens canceled their event there at short notice due to massive protests from farmers. Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser condemned the tumult before the Green Party event as a border crossing. “If a political event has to be canceled because of mobs and violence, then a red line has been crossed,” she said. Legitimate protest ends when people are intimidated and threatened. Hundreds of people, including farmers, demonstrated loudly in front of the hall in Biberach. According to police, there was also aggressive behavior and several police officers were injured.

What remains of the eventful Ash Wednesday? A look at the press

“Swabian newspaper”: “Injured police officers, an attack on a federal minister’s motorcade, pepper spray and batons against rioters, burning bales of straw in front of the town hall: yesterday in the middle of Biberach, on the sidelines of the political Ash Wednesday of the Baden-Württemberg Greens, which was subsequently canceled, scenes took place that have so far been the case in Upper Swabia were unimaginable. The escalation in Biberach should be understood as a sign of a progressive division in German society, which threatens to bring us American conditions in the medium term. Shouting instead of conversation, aggression instead of balance, opposition instead of a competition of ideas: Is that what we want? Wherever they are “It is the task of all Democrats to clearly distance themselves from the extreme fringes and at the same time to signal the ability to compromise and willingness to talk in all other directions. Chatting with each other helps.”

“Ludwigsburg district newspaper”: “It damages democracy when elected politicians are prevented from attending events by force. When democrats denigrate each other. Society is in a permanent state of emergency in all the crises. Populists and extremists are driving polarization and fomenting mistrust in democracy, politicians, parties and state institutions.”

“Stuttgart News”: “This goes too far. The fact that people are prevented from exchanging arguments by force is unacceptable. It shouldn’t get to that point. Because in our constitutional state, the law of the strongest does not apply. Democracy thrives on arguments, but with arguments. That too Anger in the stomach is possible, as shown by the farmers who discussed with the Green Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir at a registered rally behind the town hall.

“People’s Voice”: Carnival in Germany is not always fun. The Greens had to experience that in Biberach. There they wanted to celebrate Ash Wednesday in a politically appropriate way, as befits a government party in the state and federal government. Nothing there: Clashes between law enforcement officers and angry farmers prevent the happy party in Baden-Württemberg. Even traditional customs are being overtaken by the struggles of the German crisis reality. In general, the end of the carnival is a day to forget for the Greens. CSU leader Markus Söder denies their ability to govern during his beer hall appearance. A serious setback for the party. Didn’t CDU chairman Merz just hail the Greens as a possible alliance partner? In the case of the black-green coalition in Berlin, Söder could make his sayings come true and declare Bavaria’s independence. That would be a drama for many Germans, but liberating for others.”

“Straubinger Tagblatt”: As is well known, agricultural policy – apart from the diesel subsidy – is largely regulated at EU level. Four months before the European elections, the parties could have used the opportunity, Ash Wednesday, to make it clear how they would position themselves – because the differences are big. This would help the interested voter more than more jokes about the traffic lights.”


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